Concerns with Islam: Wife Beating

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Concerns with Islam:
Thoughts from an American Convert
By: Americana X
Introduction
Ch.1: Apostasy
Ch 2: Immoral, Unjustified, and Preemptive Warfare and Violence
Ch.3: Child Marriage
Ch.4: Women’s Lack of Legal Rights and Equality
Ch.5: How Women Are Perceived Disrespectfully
Ch.6: Wife Beating
Ch.7: Men and Women are Not Equal at All In Islam
Ch.8: Sexual Slavery in Islam
Ch.9: Adoption
Ch.10: Democracy is not Compatible with Islam
Conclusion
References


Domestic Violence Against Women IS Permitted in Islam

There are many Islamic sites that are directed at non-Arabic speakers. If you speak Arabic, you can’t be fooled and many of the arguments stating that a Muslim man can not beat his wife fall like a deck of cards. They claim that the following verse (4:34) does not mean "to beat them," but rather to "separate from them" or to "strike them out."

Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.

Beat them and leave/separate/abandon them are different phrases in Arabic. The arabic word idribohunna driven from the root word Darab does not have any other meaning than Beat when it comes to mean "Yadreb Ahadan" = Hit someone. Idriboohunna (أضربوهن) means "beat them" (for female plural). Adriboo Anhunna (اضربوا عنهن) is the one that means abandon or leave them. According to the Arabic lexicon:

Arabic: ضرب Transliteration: Zarb Meaning: Beat

Arabic: أضربوهن (used in 4:34) Transliteration: Idriboohunna Meaning: Beat them

Arabic: اضربوا عنهن Transliteration: Adriboo Anhunna Meaning: abandon them, leave them

Quran 4:34 says Idriboohunna أضربوهن, not Adribu Anhunna اضربوا عنهن.

These two phrases have different meanings. All the verses that contain darb against a human are understood to mean "beat" or "strike" that human, by their context, and this is agreed upon by Islamic scholars. Why then do some Muslims consider verse 4:34 to be a special case and translate "darb" to mean "separate from them"?

Many Muslims will try to come up with 100 explanations for this. Some will say that the Qur’an says “beat lightly” but in truth, the Qur’an doesn’t say anything about lightly. Others will say that it is only with the stick that was used to clean one’s teeth (miswak) in Mohamed’s times (also not true) while some say it is only in special cases. I can’t imagine what would be a “special case.” If someone is mentally ill, they need mental health care, not a beating. And if Islam is so fair, why can’t a man be beaten by a woman? Of course, this would be barbarian too, but it does illustrate the point!

The Qur'an allows Wife Beating and Muhammad Beat his Wives

... He (Muhammad b. Qais) then reported that it was 'A'isha who had narrated this: Should I not narrate to you about myself and about the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)? We said: Yes. She said: When it was my turn for Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to spend the night with me, he turned his side, put on his mantle and took off his shoes and placed them near his feet, and spread the corner of his shawl on his bed and then lay down till he thought that I had gone to sleep. He took hold of his mantle slowly and put on the shoes slowly, and opened the door and went out and then closed it lightly. I covered my head, put on my veil and tightened my waist wrapper, and then went out following his steps till he reached Baqi'. He stood there and he stood for a long time. He then lifted his hands three times, and then returned and I also returned. He hastened his steps and I also hastened my steps. He ran and I too ran. He came (to the house) and I also came (to the house). I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and as I lay down in the bed, he (the Holy Prophet) entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O 'A'isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you?..."

Many Muslims say that Muhammad never hit a woman or a child. According to Aisha, this is not true.

Muhammad Allowed his Companions to Beat Women

Muhammad allowed for Abu Bakr to slap Aisha

Jabir b. 'Abdullah (Allah be pleased with them) reported: Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) came and sought permission to see Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). He found people sitting at his door and none amongst them had been granted permission, but it was granted to Abu Bakr and he went in. Then came 'Umar and he sought permission and it was granted to him, and he found Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) sitting sad and silent with his wives around him. He (Hadrat 'Umar) said: I would say something which would make the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) laugh, so he said: Messenger of Allah, I wish you had seen (the treatment meted out to) the daughter of Khadija when you asked me some money, and I got up and slapped her on her neck. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) laughed and said: They are around me as you see, asking for extra money. Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) then got up went to 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) and slapped her on the neck, and 'Umar stood up before Hafsa and slapped her saying: You ask Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) which he does not possess. They said: By Allah, we do not ask Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) for anything he does not possess. Then he withdrew from them for a month or for twenty-nine days. Then this verse was revealed to him:" Prophet: Say to thy wives... for a mighty reward" (xxxiii. 28). He then went first to 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) and said: I want to propound something to you, 'A'isha, but wish no hasty reply before you consult your parents. She said: Messenger of Allah, what is that? He (the Holy Prophet) recited to her the verse, whereupon she said: Is it about you that I should consult my parents, Messenger of Allah? Nay, I choose Allah, His Messenger, and the Last Abode; but I ask you not to tell any of your wives what I have said He replied: Not one of them will ask me without my informing her. God did not send me to be harsh, or cause harm, but He has sent me to teach and make things easy.
Iyas b. Abdullah reported God's messenger as saying, "Do not beat God's handmaidens;" but when `Umar came to God's messenger and said, "The women have become emboldened towards their husbands," he gave license to beat them. Then many women went round God's messenger's family complaining of their husbands, and he said, "Many women have gone around complaining of their husbands. Those are not the best among you."
Narrated Amr ibn al-Ahwas al-Jushami: Amr heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) say in his farewell address on the eve of his Last Pilgrimage, after he had glorified and praised Allah, he cautioned his followers: "Listen! Treat women kindly; they are like prisoners in your hands. Beyond this you do not owe anything from them. Should they be guilty of flagrant misbehaviour, you may remove them from your beds, and beat them but do not inflict upon them any severe punishment.
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 104

Muhammad Ignored the Abuse of Women

It seems that Muhammad was not concerned with the suffering of a believing women. Instead, he rebukes her for her words against her husband.

Narrated 'Ikrima: Rifa'a divorced his wife whereupon 'AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. 'Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah's Apostle came, 'Aisha said, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!" When 'AbdurRahman heard that his wife had gone to the Prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife. She said, "By Allah! I have done no wrong to him but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this," holding and showing the fringe of her garment, 'Abdur-Rahman said, "By Allah, O Allah's Apostle! She has told a lie! I am very strong and can satisfy her but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifa'a." Allah's Apostle said, to her, "If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifa'a unless Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you." Then the Prophet saw two boys with 'Abdur-Rahman and asked (him), "Are these your sons?" On that 'AbdurRahman said, "Yes." The Prophet said, "You claim what you claim (i.e.. that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow."

I just don’t understand why, if in truth Mohamed was a “mercy to mankind” did he not have mercy on this woman who had bruises all over her body. He believes the man, although it had not been proven that he was not impotent as his wife claimed just because her child looked like his dad. Maybe he had become impotent later on in their marriage. Instead, she is forced to stay with someone she does not want to live with. (As a side note, this Hadith also references the fact that a woman has to have sex with another many before she can return to a husband who has divorced her, an experience which could be very upsetting for anyone wanting to reconcile with someone they love.)

Scholars Agree with Wife Beating

And remember Our servant Ayyub, when he invoked his Lord (saying): "Verily, Shaytan has afflicted me with distress and torment!" (Allah said to him): "Strike the ground with your foot. This is (a spring of) water to wash in, cool and a drink." And We gave him (back) his family, and along with them the like thereof, as a mercy from Us, and a reminder for those who understand. "And take in your hand a bundle of thin grass and strike therewith (your wife), and break not your oath." Truly, We found him patient. How excellent a servant! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance (to Us)!
With regard to wife beating... In a nutshell, it appeared as part of a program to reform the wife. [According to the Koran], first 'admonish them,' [then] 'sleep in separate beds, and beat them.'...This method appeared as part of the treatment of a rebellious wife. I am faced with two options – either the family will be destroyed by divorce, or I can use means that may bring my wife, the mother of my children, back to her senses. The first means is admonishment...The second means of treatment is 'sleeping in separate beds.' Why? Because this targets the honor... A lot could be said about this. The strength of a woman lies in her ability to seduce the man. The man is strong and can do whatever he wants, but the woman has a weapon of her own. This weapon can be targeted. Many women will come back to their senses, when they realize that this is what's involved...By Allah, even if only one woman out of a million can be reformed by light beatings... It's not really beating, it's more like punching... It's like shoving or poking her. That's what it is.

Here’s a question posed online to a sheik...

What should I do if my wife refuses to cover her hands, even though I asked her to do that from the beginning, then I commanded her to, but she refuses? What do you say if I threaten her with divorce?

And the answer?

...If the wife goes against his wishes and refuses to obey him, the husband has to take a gradual approach in handling the matter. First he should admonish her and remind her of the punishment for disobeying his command. If that does not succeed, then he moves on to forsaking her in bed. If that does not work, then he may hit her, but in a manner that is not severe, and there is nothing wrong with also threatening her with divorce...
If a person gives SR 1,200 [$320] to his wife and she spends 900 riyals [$240] to purchase an abaya [the black cover that women in Saudi Arabia must wear] from a brand shop and if her husband slaps her on the face as a reaction to her action, she deserves that punishment.

A man should not be asked why he beats his wife

Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.

Therefore, he is not accountable to his community nor to God on Judgment Day as to why he beat his wife. In the Middle East, you don’t even call the police if your husband beats you. It is considered disloyal. There are even youtube videos which instruct Muslim men on how to beat their wives properly.

A woman would have to be practically dead to even consider calling the police. Although most people say that beating a wife is not good, it seems that it is also understood to be a form of discipline. Thus, women almost have the status of children. I’ll leave it at that.


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